What eating healthy looks like

28 Oct 2019

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What eating healthy looks like

In our previous posts, we talked about how challenging it is to manage all our daily priorities (life, work, kids….) & still cook healthy meals from scratch.

Healthy eating can be a controversial topic. There are so many options today between organic, vegan, paleo and keto, all claiming to be healthy and offering a totally different perspective on health. It’s easy to get overwhelmed looking for guidelines. Most of us can agree that heavily processed foods, starch, carbs, and lots of fried options, is a far cry from a healthy diet. Let’s break it down and look at what the experts say.

What did Mom and Dad say?

Things like “clean your plate” and “Eat your veggies”. It’s true that eating healthy sustaining foods helps to balance your blood sugar; and therefore, helps to stabilize your mood. But portion sizes in America have gone off the deep end. No one needs to clean their plate if their plate is a platter. In general, most experts agree that a serving size is roughly equivalent to the palm of your hand. Now as for the veggies, that’s a message we can all agree on. No one is going to argue you’ll gain weight or decline in health by piling on the greens. Way to go Mom and Dad.

What does the Government say?

Well that depends on when you ask. In the 40’s there were 7 food groups recommended. In the 70’s they reduced it to 4. Then turned it into a pyramid in the 90’s and now we have the “my plate” icon. The new icon suggests that we should eat a balance of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and milk. The government guidelines have changed over the years as science has evolved and our understanding of nutrition has changed. Of course, they are also influenced by industry and culture trends. But balance has always been the resounding message, eat a variety of foods, and eat in moderation.

What does your Doctor say?

This might be a great source for a more personalized direction. As he or she can assess your personal medical history and challenges. They can consider your blood work, your family’s history of heart disease or diabetes, any food allergies you may have or possible interactions with medications you may be on. But overall the general recommendation from the medical field is fewer processed foods, more fruits, whole grains (whole wheat) veggies, and proteins, keeping sugar, starch (e.g. flour, potato) and fat in moderation.

So what DOES healthy eating really look like?

We’ve looked at a variety of “experts” and we’ve received a bunch of different answers. How can we move forward? It’s not as overwhelming as it might seem. The best advice is to look for the common threads. Although the focus and motivations of these people are different, there are a few things they are saying that are the same. Eat a variety of nutrient rich foods. Avoid excess sugar and overly processed ingredients. Of course the best way to know what’s on your plate, is to prepare your own food from scratch. Nutrient rich meals are made with simple ingredients and if you are what you eat, what’s on your plate matters. The next best way is to get someone to prepare it for you under your direction. This is where CookinGenie can come to your home & create home cooked meals for you to enjoy. We shop, we cook & we clean. Try us out.


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National Food Safety Month— Keys for Cooking and Serving Food Safely

24 Sep 2021

Cooking for friends and family is one of the great joys in life. But without practicing proper food safety, cooking can make your loved ones sick, or in extreme cases, even kill them. Luckily, all it takes to prepare and serve food safely is following a few simple rules and using common sense. In honor of food safety month, here are some of the most important things to remember when cooking.

Wash your hands

One of the most important things you can do to keep food safe is constant handwashing. The first thing you should do when you walk into the kitchen is washing your hands. And wash them again after every completed task or when you start handling different ingredients, especially after touching raw meat.

One of the most common ways foodborne illnesses are spread is by bacteria jumping from dirty hands to the food. So, you cannot wash your hands too often. When washing your hands, make sure you run them under warm running water for at least 20 seconds, using antibacterial soap. Scrub between your fingers and under your fingernails every time and dry off with a clean cloth or paper towel. For extra protection, turn off the knob on the sink with that paper towel instead of your bare hands.

When in doubt, throw it out

Nobody likes to waste food. But holding on to old food after it’s gone bad is a good way to get your guests sick.  If anything in your fridge or pantry is moldy, slimy, smells rotten, or is well past its expiration date, just throw it out.

When cooking with canned ingredients, beware of cans that are rusted, dented, or swollen. Swollen cans are a sign of botulism, a dangerous spore that can be fatal. If there are any physical deformities on the can, put it right into the trash. There is a chance that every now and again you may throw out some food that’s still safe to use, but it’s always better safe than sorry.

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold

As a general rule of thumb, you should try and avoid keeping foods out at room temperature as much as possible, especially more sensitive items like meat, dairy, and eggs. When cooking and storing food, be mindful of the “temperature danger zone”, a temperature range between 41⁰F and 135⁰F. This is the range in which bacteria grows and multiplies most quickly.

Temperatures above or below this range are usually too extreme for most bacteria to survive. So, if a dish is meant to be served hot, you should keep it on the stove or in the oven at 135⁰F or higher for as long as possible, and if it is meant to be served cold, you should keep it in refrigeration at 41⁰F or lower until it’s ready to serve.

It may be helpful to have a digital thermometer on hand to help ensure you’re keeping foods at the proper temperatures. If any highly sensitive foods like meat or dairy are left out in the temperature danger zone for more than four hours, they may be unsafe to eat. Any cooked food that is being reheated should be heated to 165⁰F for at least 15 seconds before serving.

Beware of Cross Contamination

Cross contamination occurs when bacteria or other contaminants are passed to food from shared surfaces or through the air. For example, if you cut raw chicken on a cutting board then later use that same cutting board for fresh vegetables, the vegetables may be contaminated with bacteria from the chicken. To avoid cross contamination, use different utensils for raw meats and vegetables. Also be sure to wash and disinfect counters and other kitchen surfaces frequently.

Consider food allergies

One of the scariest parts of cooking for others can be dealing with food allergies. Allergic reactions to food can range anywhere from a mildly upset stomach to life-threatening anaphylactic shock, where the victim’s throat can begin to shut.

Before your event, ask all your guests if they have any food allergies. If anyone in your party has a severe allergy, consider serving something without that ingredient at all. For people with severe allergies like nuts or shellfish, they may not even need to actively consume the allergen to have a dangerous reaction, just an invisible trace amount may be enough to cause serious symptoms. So, just making a portion without that ingredient may not be enough to keep them safe. When it comes to cooking for people with food allergies, you cannot be too careful.

Cook proteins properly

A common cause of foodborne illness is undercooked meats, especially chicken. Meats need to be cooked to proper internal temperatures to kill the majority of bacteria and parasites that can make you sick. When cooking meats, use a digital thermometer to measure the internal temperature and don’t serve it until the meat comes up to a safe level.

For example, chicken and other poultry need to reach an internal temperature of at least 165⁰F for 15 seconds before they’re safe to eat. For more specifics, check out our complete guide to safely cooking meat.

Wash raw ingredients well

Before cooking with fruits, herbs, or vegetables, rinse them off under cold running water to remove any debris, bacteria, or chemical coating. This is especially important with cantaloupe and honeydew, which always should be washed before cutting. It’s also good practice to rinse off your eggs before cooking with them.

Be extra cautious with the most vulnerable members of your family

When cooking for older or immunocompromised people, you have to be extra careful and attentive. For someone who’s young and healthy, a case of salmonella from an undercooked chicken breast could cause a few days of illness. But for an older person or someone suffering from an autoimmune disease, that salmonella could be fatal.

CookinGenie takes food safety seriously

When you book a chef through CookinGenie, you can be sure that food safety will be the top priority. Many of the genies are professionals with formal food safety training, and others are experienced home cooks with a proven track record of keeping people safe. Food safety is stressed, and every genie knows that’s the most important thing when cooking for you.

Better yet, when you allow a CookinGenie chef into your home, you can watch them cook to be sure the food is being handled properly. Unlike a restaurant, this in-home set-up allows much more transparency and peace of mind than dining out or ordering takeout.

Author – Jared Kent

 

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The History of Wineries and Vineyards

12 Nov 2022

Ohio is home to a rich viticultural history, with the first grapes (Alexander and Isabella) planted in the Ohio River Valley in 1823. Since then, the Ohio wine industry has flourished, with over 200 wineries and vineyards dotting the landscape. The Ohio River Valley is particularly well-suited for grape cultivation, thanks to its challenging climate and diverse soil types. As a result, Ohio wines have earned a reputation for being complex and distinctive. In recent years, the Buckeye state has also become known for its innovative winemaking techniques, such as native yeast strains and sustainable growing methods. Whether one is a fan of dry reds or sweet whites, there’s an Ohio wine out there for everyone to enjoy.

A Brief History

The Beginning

Wine cultivation in Ohio was first started by Nicholas Longworth, a commercial wine industry pioneer, in the early 1800s. Longworth planted Catawba grapes in Cincinnati, which produced a semi-sweet wine that consumers praised. His efforts were successful, and by 1859, Ohio had become a leading producer of wine, with grapes grown along the river between Cincinnati and Ripley.  

The Onset of Crop Disease

However, crop disease destroyed grapes, and the Civil War disrupted the labor force, causing winemaking to decline. However, this decline soon reversed in the Lake Erie Islands area thanks to German immigrants who brought their winemaking traditions to Ohio. The unique climate and surrounding waters made it an ideal location for growing grapes, leading to a resurgence in wine production. 

The Resurgence

The resurgence of wine production in Ohio was driven primarily by the growth of various vineyards and wineries along the southern shore of Lake Erie and other parts of the state. By the turn of the 20th century, winemaking was thriving in Ohio, with dozens of wineries located along the shores of Lake Erie and thousands of gallons of wine produced in this region. The area’s reputation for delicious wines increased vineyards throughout southern Lake Erie, which became famous as the “Lake Erie Grape Belt.” 

Prohibition

Despite Prohibition, which effectively wiped-out winemaking in Ohio for several years, the 1960s saw a resurgence in the industry. At this time, robust French American grapes were planted across Southern Ohio, producing flavorful wines like those made in Europe. These grapes continued to thrive, reinvigorating winemaking throughout Ohio. 

The Present

Today, Ohio is well-known as a top wine-producing state, with more than 1.2 million gallons of wine produced yearly. The state’s grape portfolio now includes vinifera grapes, which effectively produce high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Riesling wines. These efforts have made Ohio a destination for wine lovers everywhere. 

 Also Read: Top Wineries and Vineyards in Ohio | Wine Trails

Who is Nicholas Longworth?

Nicolas Longworth was born in Newark, New Jersey, on January 16, 1783. A self-taught horticulturist, he began experimenting with grapevines in the early 1800s. His breakthrough came in 1825 when he cultivated the Catawba grape, a variety well-suited to the Ohio River Valley climate. Throughout the 1830s and 1850s, Nicholas Longworth distributed his Catawba wine all over the US and Europe. He produced over 200,000 gallons of wine per year, becoming one of the wealthiest men in the country. 

In addition to his success as a vintner, Longworth also pioneered using American oak barrels for aging wine. He died on February 10. 1863, his legacy as the Father of the American Wine Industry lives on. 

After his death, Longworth’s vineyards continued to influence artists drawn to paint the beautiful landscapes of Ohio’s wine-growing region along the Ohio River. 

Today, this historic region is known as the Ohio River Valley Wine Trail, a tribute to Longworth’s enduring legacy as a pioneer winemaker and an essential contributor to American viticulture. And Longworth’s descendants continue to produce wine in the Ohio River Valley. His original vineyards are now part of Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. 

The First Grape Varieties Planted in Ohio

Wine has been produced in Ohio for over 200 years, beginning with Nicholas Longworth’s planting of the Alexander and Isabella grapes in the fertile Ohio River Valley.  

Despite initial setbacks, Longworth remained dedicated to his work and continued experimenting with other grape varieties outside the city. Eventually, he found success with the native red Catawba grape, which quickly gained popularity among Cincinnatians. Today, winemakers in Ohio continue to cultivate these and other grape varieties, producing a wide range of high-quality wines that have won acclaim both in the US and abroad. 

The Modern Evolution

Looking back at the history of Ohio wines, it is clear that there has been a significant boom in recent years. With wineries cropping up across the state at an astonishing rate, and winemakers producing high-quality, world-class wines, it is clear that this industry is experiencing unprecedented growth.  

Experts like Donniella Winchell, former executive director of the Ohio Wine Producers Association, believe that this trend will only continue in the coming years as more and more people discover the delicious flavors and unique qualities of Ohio wines. She also believes that the recent explosion of Ohio wines is due, in part, to a growing interest in local, sustainable products.  

Ohio: Perfect For Producing Wine?

Not only have consumers embraced this trend, but the state government has also played a key role in facilitating the growth of the wine industry. 

Unlike in other wine-producing states such as California, Ohio wineries can stay open longer and offer a broader range of food and entertainment options.  

In addition, Ohio’s cooler climate allows wineries here to produce distinctive wines unavailable elsewhere. With its vibrant wine culture and supportive government policies, it is no wonder that Ohio has become a leading producer of quality wines. 

 Also Read: A Guide to Visiting Ohio Wineries and Vineyards

How Do Things Stand Now?

The future looks bright for Ohio’s wine industry, and there is no doubt that it will continue to thrive in the years to come. Today, there are nearly 300 wineries in Ohio.  

Ohio wines are varied and reflect the state’s diverse climate and soil types. In recent years, the industry has seen a surge in popularity, and many new wineries have opened their doors to the public.  

With the rapid growth of the wine industry in Ohio, every person in the state is within a 35-minute drive of at least one winery. This growth results from several factors, including increased consumer interest in local products and the emergence of new culinary and wine centers like Pairings in Geneva, Ohio.  

The wine industry contributes significantly to the economic health of Ohio, with an annual revenue of over $1.3 billion. 

Is Ohio wine any good?

If you’re a wine lover, you might wonder if Ohio wines are any good. After all, the state is known more for its corn and soybeans than its grapes. But the truth is that Ohio wine has come a long way in recent years, and there are now some very talented winemakers in the state. The climate in Ohio is well-suited to growing grapes, and many of the state’s vineyards are on hillsides that offer good drainage and protection from harsh weather conditions. As a result, Ohio wines can be excellent and worth trying if you get the chance.  

Does Ohio have a wine country?

Yes, Ohio has a wine country! Ohio is home to approximately 280 wineries, and the state’s wine industry contributes over $1 billion annually to the economy. The majority of Ohio’s vineyards are in the Lake Erie region, which has a climate similar to that of France’s Burgundy region. Ohio wines have won numerous awards and accolades, and the state’s wines are favorites of locals and visitors. In addition to being a significant producer of wine, Ohio is also home to several world-renowned wineries, including Laurentia Vineyard & Winery and Gervasi Vineyard. Whether you’re looking for a crisp white wine or a rich red blend, you can find something to suit your taste in Ohio’s wine country.    

What is the largest winery in Ohio?

The largest local winery in Ohio is the Debonne Vineyards, located in Madison on the Grand River wine region. The winery produces a wide variety of wines, from fruity reds and whites to dry sparkling wine. In addition to its extensive production facilities, the Debonne Vineyards has a tasting room where visitors can sample the wines and purchase their favorites. The winery also offers tours of the production facilities, giving visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the production of the wines. With its beautiful location and extensive selection of wines, the Debbone Vineyards is a must-visit destination for any wine lover.  

What is the oldest winery in Ohio?

The oldest winery in Ohio is the Firelands Winery. Since its inception in 1880, Firelands Winery has produced high-quality wines that delight wine lovers across the Midwest. Known for making exceptional wines at reasonable prices, this Ohio winery has earned a reputation for being one of the best in the state and beyond. 

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Prepared Salmon - CookinGenie

16 Sep 2021

These days, lots of us are looking for a better way to get more healthy protein in our diets. We love eating pork, beef, chicken, and other meats, but let’s face it, they’re not always the healthiest. Luckily, there’s one source of protein you already know that’s tasty, widely available, and incredibly healthy. That protein, of course, is salmon. That’s right, flaky, delicious, and beloved by many, salmon is also a true powerhouse health food. And if you’re looking for a healthy protein to include into your diet more regularly, look no further than salmon.

Health Benefits of Salmon

Salmon is full of all sorts of healthy nutrients. It’s one of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids, which are considered essential fat to include in a healthy diet. Omega 3 fatty acids can help promote heart health, lower blood pressure, and even reduce your risk of cancer. Salmon is also high in other important vitamins such as B vitamins and potassium. Plus, a single 4-ounce serving of salmon may have as much as 25 grams of protein. All told, consuming salmon 2-3 times a week can have health benefits ranging from weight loss, reduced inflammation, improved brain health, and more.

(Also ReadHealthy ingredients – Tahini)

All of these health benefits of salmon come with a relatively low-calorie count and mostly unsaturated fats, making it a healthier choice than many other meats. Plus, salmon is delicious and versatile, as it can be prepared many different ways and still have great taste.

Salmon Prepared the CookinGenie Way

If you’re looking to incorporate more salmon into your diet, look no further than CookinGenie. If you’re not used to cooking with salmon, you may not be sure what to do with it, or if you cook with salmon often, you may just be out of ideas. That’s where CookinGenie comes in. Our talented genies currently offer more than 15 different dishes using the superfood salmon! And these dishes are as unique as the genies themselves, showcasing its delicious versatility with a wide variety of preparations.

Genie Rashidah Shabazz serves salmon 3 different ways on her menu, including a citrus-ginger salmon and  lemon-balsamic salmon, so you could take your salmon to the far east or to Italy.

Our genie Lashondre’a Lenor offers a creative twist, quite literally, on salmon by serving a stunning entrée of braided salmon, which a whole side of salmon, expertly braided and roasted just like a loaf of challah bread. But if you’re in the mood for something more classic, like a simple, wholesome entrée of seared salmon with rice pilaf and green beans, she has you covered there too.

But it’s not all whole salmon either, genie Vanessa Calhoun serves a delicious Salmon Croquette, which is tender shreds of roasted salmon, rolled up into balls, breaded, and fried into a crispy, addicting snack.

Finally, if you’d like salmon on a salad, look no further than genie Courtney White, who serves a flaky filet of salmon on top of a classic Caesar salad with homemade dressing and croutons.

These are just a few of the delectable salmon dishes CookinGenie has to offer. They’re just as healthy as they are delicious, to see all of the amazing ways you can enjoy salmon with CookinGenie, check out our menu and book a genie today!

Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-benefits-of-salmon#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

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